The total advanced by mortgage lenders last month was 2% higher than a year ago, according to industry estimates.
Umbrella group the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) estimates that gross lending by its members was £18.9bn in January.
It is the highest gross January figure since 2008, when the total was £25.2bn.
However, it represents a fall of 6% on the previous month, with £20bn advanced during December 2016.
The CML said different parts of the market appeared to be having differing fortunes.
“Overall mortgage lending continues to hold up pretty well, but we seem to have a twin-track market,” said the CML’s Mohammad Jamei.
“Weakness in buy-to-let and home movers has been offset by an increase in first-time buyers and remortgage lending. A continuing acute shortage of homes being offered for sale is one aspect of a broken housing market that looks unlikely to resolve in the near term.”
The CML’s members are collectively behind about 97% of residential mortgage lending in the UK.